It’s Duo Day here at DisClaimer.
This week is a bountiful harvest of collaborations — Tim McGraw & Shy Carter, Colt Ford & Mitchell Tenpenny, Carly Pearce & Lee Brice, Maddie & Tae, Logan Ledger & Courtney Marie Andrews. Gone West & Colbie Caillat sounds like a collab, but it’s really the name of a lovely new four-person harmony ensemble.
But all of them take a back seat to our Disc of the Day. It belongs to Craig Morgan, and it is a breathtaking reminder of just how moving great country singing and songwriting can be.
The DisCovery Award goes to Lower Broadway vet Logan Ledger. I am enthralled by his sound.
JUSTIN MOORE/Why We Drink
Writers: Justin Moore/Casey Beathard/David Lee Murphy/Jeremy Stover; Producer: Stover; Publisher: none listed; Valory
– Romping and rollicking, this is a boatload of boozy fun. Plus, the boy can sing.
CARLY PEARCE & LEE BRICE/I Hope You’re Happy Now
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Big Machine
– I’m a big fan of both of these artists, so I was tickled to see them as a duet. The song is about being completely devastated in a breakup, and they’re both singing their faces off in it. The thumping rhythm is just right. The harmony vocals are mixed a mite soft, as though each one wants to let the other have the total spotlight when it’s their turn to sing lead. A sterling single.
GONE WEST & COLBIE CAILLAT/What Could’ve Been
Writers: Gone West/Jamie Kenney; Producer: Kenney; Publisher: none listed; Triple Tigers
– Lustrous. I fell hard for the stacked vocal harmonies and the swirling melody. Heartache has seldom sounded as glorious as this. Top pop Grammy winner Caillat has moved to Music City and formed Gone West as a four-part, two-couples vocal fiesta. This is its captivating, stunning debut disc. What a treat.
MADDIE & TAE/Everywhere I’m Goin’
Writers: Maddie Marlow/Taylor Dye/Josh Thompson/Jimmy Robbins; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Mercury Nashville
– Shimmering and sparkly, this twirls and spins like a glittering dancefloor ball. The sound of falling in love.
COLT FORD & MITCHELL TENPENNY/Slow Ride
Writers: Colt Ford/Taylor Phillips/Josh Mirenda/Jared Sciullo/Justin David Bertoldie; Producer: J. Sclullo; Publishers: Average ZJS/Warner-Tamerlane/Mirendawrites/Reservoir Media Management/Riley Payton/Lacey Branch, BMI/ASCAP/SESAC
-Hick-hop rides again. It’s a slow groove with a languid vibe alternating with rapid-fire white-boy rap. It loops back on itself over and over again. Colt’s new CD is We the People, and his other guests on it include Jimmie Allen, Michael Ray and Eddie Montgomery.
TIM McGraw & SHY CARTER/Way Down
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Columbia
– It has a gritty, funky, crunchy guitar/percussion track topped with a spoken-sung vocal about getting Southern-fried in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and other Dixie locales. Carter provides a brief rapped breakdown. Repetitive, but ear-wormy.
LOGAN LEDGER & COURTNEY MARIE ANDREWS/Oh Sister
Writers: none listed; Producer: T Bone Burnett; Publisher: none listed; Rounder
– Drenched in steel and oozing barroom authenticity, this is utterly mesmerizing. Is it about incest? Logan is following the Nashville path of Margo Price and Joshua Hedley, taking a left-field route to remind us what real country music sounds like. His I Don’t Dream Anymore EP drops tomorrow. Sign me up for the fan club.
CRAIG MORGAN/The Father, My Son and the Holy Ghost
Writer: Craig Morgan; Producer: Craig Morgan; Publisher: none listed; BBR
– Powerful. He has always shaken and moved me as a vocalist. Never more so than now, as he pours out his heart in memory of his late son. I was sobbing by the time he hit the finale. So grateful for this artist’s honesty and bravery.
CAYLEE HAMMACK/Just Friends
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Capitol Nashville
– I still say she’s a pop act.
ZAC BROWN BAND/The Woods
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; BBR/Wheelhouse
– As cool and listenable as ever, these guys continue with their one-of-a-kind sound. This tickles the ears with non-stop rhythm, soulful singing and mega-hooky melody. Love them to pieces.